Looking for the perfect way to start the holiday weekend and help out a good cause?
The Party On Pearl is an elevated happy hour, bringing together phenomenal entertainers with amazing Buffalo restaurants in a bid to raise funds for Buffalo’s Children’s Hospital.
I caught up with Chief Organizer Deon (David) McLeod and asked him a few questions:
Jim: What prompted you to organize this event?
Deon: I work in the bar and restaurant industry as an IT Guy. This matured relationships with owners and staff such that I was able at times to secure coveted reservations. It’s not lost on me the hoops some of the General Managers jumped through to fit me in. It’s hard not to sometimes extend that to dear friends. One day I had a 6 top setup for Lucia’s and a 4 top for Hutch’s. Neither reservation showed nor cancelled with me or the restaurants. I was so disappointed, I vowed to use my network for good and not just waste it on the less thankful. I managed DJs in my past life and thought of bringing the DJ and restaurant industry together to throw a nice party whose proceeds should go to charity.
Jim: How did Jeremy Kelly (Alumni Manager- Buffalo Bills) get involved?
Deon: I remembered then that Jeremy served on the board of Children’s Hospital Foundation and there was nothing more apropos than serving children. It was still pandemic times, and we were reeling about the effects of curfews. Being then a father of a 13-year-old only child, I witnessed the social degradation and loneliness the uncertain pandemic lockdowns brought. My daughter fared very well, but I felt guilty daily for not providing a larger family, to grow and quarantine with. My thought expanded to the sick children that couldn’t even have visits from their parents. The thought of the depths of loneliness they must be experiencing brought shivers to my conscience. We were on the heels of the George Floyd killing protest. I equated the plight of my brothers and sisters as a major consequence of lack of choices. I equated lack of choices with under and poor education. My motivation had focus now:
I’ll contribute to my village and society best by serving the future generation. I’ll emphasize education and healthcare. I see these are the major tenet of their future successes.
Jeremy saying ‘yes‘ to giving me access to his network at Children’s Hospital Foundation, as well as lending his celebrity status and social network to the event, meant as co-founders, we can build something brilliant and special.
Jim: I went last year and had an amazing time, what was your secret to a successful first event?
Deon: The key to making it work was leveraging existing networks and relationships. With no administrative budgets and knowhow, Andrew Bennet and Melissa Bean supported every step. We were able to plan and pull off the first event September 22nd, 2021, within 3 weeks.
We raised $28,000.00 through ticket sales and sponsors and netted $18,000.00 for the charity. There was, of course, hosting and event costs associated with the inclusive package.
We were fortunate to have some sponsors jump on board as well and we are ever so thankful for them. On the back of that event, we now knew what was possible and assayed to have enough sponsorships such that we can boast that 100% of ticket sales will go to the charity. This year we believe we will accomplish that.
Jim: Anything else you would like to add?
Deon: Our policy is:
- 100% Volunteer Leadership
- No admin fees for organizers
- Make the product better, undersell and over deliver
Thanks to the amazing 12 organizing committee members, all food and entertainment Vendors, CHF and the love of the Buffalo citizenry- we are on track to deliver a special event for the benefit of the most precious amongst us.
Hats off to Deon and all of the volunteers. Thank you for your dedication and service to your community. The weather is going to be spectacular, pop by and say hi.
2nd Annual Party on Pearl Benefiting John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital
Thursday June 30th, 2022- 5pm-10pm
500 Pearl Street, Buffalo NY 14222; WXYZ Bar and Patrick’s Rooftop
VIP Tickets (sold out): $150.00 (Drinks, 12 Restaurants, 3 DJs, 4 Bands and access to WXYZ & Patrick’s Rooftop included)
General Admission Tickets; $50.00 Cash Bar (8 Restaurants, 3 Bands and access to WXYZ)
Contributing Entertainers: DJs Lil Gabby, Milk, and Jett.
Popular Bands: Will Holton, Vibrant Strings, Paul Hage & Mirage and The Trinity Brand.
Contributing at-event restaurants: 40 Thieves, Bada Bing, Frankie Primo’s +39, Fresh Catch Poke, Kevin’s Catering, KT Caribbean, La Divina, Osteria 166, Roost, Soho and Vice; with Chef Darian Bryan live cooking demonstration, featuring his famous Rasta Pasta!
Dress code is business casual.